Stolen Bases Hurt Power; Alvarez Continues Rehab

Sunday’s action in the Pirates’ minor league organization began with an afternoon game in Charleston.  The GCL Pirates have the day off.

Greensboro Grasshoppers  10,  West Virginia Power  2
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Three late-inning rallies gave the Grasshoppers the advantage over the Power this afternoon.   Power starter Colton Cain pitched 4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk.  The first ‘Hoppers’ run came in the 1st inning, on a double and an RBI single.  Cain allowed only one base runner over the next two innings (hit batter), then gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th, to give Greensboro a 3-0 lead. Cain and C Kawika Emsley-Pai had two bases stolen against them in the 1st inning (one runner, two bases), and a double steal in the 4th.  Kevin Decker replaced Cain to begin the 5th, and retired the side in order.  In the 6th, Decker gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI single.  There were three stolen bases in that inning.  Decker was still pitching in the 7th, when 3 more runs scored.  Three more stolen bases contributed to the scoring, which also included two walks, a sacrifice fly, an RBI double and an RBI single.  The Grasshoppers had an 8-0 lead.   

The Power batters went down in order in the first two innings, and had only 3 base runners over the first 6 innings.  Emsley-Pai led off the 3rd with a single lined into left field, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.   1B Chase Lyles singled in the 5th and was left on base.  SS Kevin Mort singled to open the 6th, and was erased in a double play.  2B Andy Vasquez singled to lead off the 7th, and he was also out in a double play, when CF Mel Rojas lined out to first and Vasquez was easily doubled off.  Finally, after that double play, three consecutive hits pushed the first Power run across the plate.  DH Cole White and Lyles hit back-to-back singles, and LF Rogelios Noris drove in White with a line drive double into left.  

Justin Ennis pitched the 8th inning, and gave the ‘Hoppers another 2-run homer, following a single.  The Power got one of the runs back in the 8th.  With two outs, Vasquez was hit by a pitch, and Rojas walked.  White lined a single into center field, and Vasquez came around from second to score.  Jason Townsend pitched a scoreless top of the 9th, and the Power also went down in order in the bottom of the 9th.  

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Alvarez Joins Marauders; Harrison Back to Pirates

Tuesdays’ action… and again the player moves are as interesting as the games.

3B Pedro Alvarez was moved from the GCL Pirates to the Marauders to continue his rehab work.  
With OF Jose Tabata being placed onto the Disabled List, the Pirates were no longer forced to wait 10 days before recalling INF Josh Harrison.  Harrison joined Chase d’Arnaud and Alex Presley as the new kids on the block in Pittsburgh.  Backfilling, OF Anthony Norman and SS Jordy Mercer were both promoted from Altoona to Indianapolis.  INF Josh Rodriguez was sent down to Altoona.

Bradenton Marauders  8,  St. Lucie Mets  1
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A 5-run 4th inning gave the Marauders a big boost, as they bombarded the Mets in Bradenton.  Pedro Alvarez started the game at third base for the Marauders.  He grounded out in the 1st inning, then singled to lead off the 4th, and was hit by a pitch in the 5th. It was not a particularly busy day at third base for Alvarez, but he successfully fielded 3 grounders that came his way.  Elevys Gonzalez took over for Alvarez at the beginning of the 6th.   

Brett Lorin allowed only one run in his start, and earned his 3rd win of the season (3-4 record).  The lone run scored in the 3rd, on a hit batter, a ground out, and a ground-rule double.  Lorin scattered 3 more hits, no walks, over the rest of his 6 innings.  He hit another batter and he struck out 5.  

The Marauders got onto the scoreboard when they batted around in the 4th.  Alvarez’s single got the fun started, then 1B Aaron Baker lined a double into left field, moving Alvarez to third.  DH Adalberto Santos walked to load the bases.  CF Evan Chambers brought in Alvarez with an RBI single, and C Carlos Paulino’s double into center field plated both Baker and Santos.  LF David Rubinstein walked to load the bases again.  After a pitching change, SS Kelson Brown’s RBI ground out scored Chambers, and RF Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly brought in Paulino, to give the Marauders a 5-1 lead.  

Tyler Cox replaced Lorin to begin the 7th inning.  Cox walked the first batter he faced, then retired the next 6, including two strikeouts in each inning.   Duke Welker pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th, with one strikeout.  

The Marauders also did some late-inning scoring.  Brown and Grossman led off the 7th with back-to-back singles, and 2B Jarek Cunningham drove both of them in with his double into right field.  Chambers started the 9th with a single, and moved to second base on a wild pitch.  He tagged up and advanced to third on Rubinstein’s fly out, then scored on a wild pitch, to give the Marauders their 8 run total.  

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Leach’s First Win In Marauders’ Hit-Fest

The Pirates have signed 23rd round draft pick RHP Jordan Cooper to a contract.  He had been a pitcher for Kentucky, and that experience might get him a start at State College.  Here is a list of all the 2011 draft picks, with notations for which ones have signed.  

Friday’s game action:

Harrisburg Senators  2,  Altoona Curve  0
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A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th broke the scoreless tie for the only scoring in this pitching duel.  Jeff Locke pitched 6 scoreless frames for the Curve, scattering 3 singles and a walk over his first 3 innings.  The he retired the Senators in order for the next 3 innings.  He threw 78 pitches (48 strikes) in those 6 innings.  Bryan Morris pitched a scoreless 7th, allowing just a single.  That base runner moved to second base on a balk, which started an argument by Altoona manager PJ Forbes — and resulted in Forbes being ejected. Michael Dubee, back with the Curve after some time with Indianapolis, gave up a lone single in the 8th, and Noah Krol allowed a single and a walk in the 9th, but both kept the Senators from scoring.

But the Curve weren’t scoring either.  They pounded out 7 hits, including two by SS Jordy Mercer.  Mercer’s triple i n the 7th was the only extra-base hit for the Curve, and the only time that a Curve base runner reached as far as third base.  RF Andrew Lambo also walked twice.  CF Starling Marte opened the game with a single, but was thrown out at second after Mercer’s strikeout.  1B Matt Curry and LF Brad Chalk both singled in the 2nd, but Curry was picked off second base, and Chalk was thrown out trying to steal second.  2B Brock Holt singled in the 4th, and pinch-hitter Anthony Norman singled in the 10th and stole second base.  

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Latimore Leads Curve To Win; Spikes Win Their First

Less action than usual for a Sunday afternoon — the Bradenton Marauders are still on their All-Star break, and the game between the West Virginia Power and the Lakewood BlueClaws was cancelled due to wet grounds at Appalachian Power Park.  The South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday. 

Altoona Curve  4,  Harrisburg Senators  1
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LF Quincy Latimore and RF Anthony Norman posted 2 hits each, and Latimore scored 3 of the Curve’s 4 runs as Altoona took the win.  Latimore’s first hit was a double lined into left field in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  He scored on Norman’s single.  The two combined again in the 4th inning for another run.  With two outs, Latimore walked, then Norman singled into right field.  When the Harrisburg right fielder made a throwing error, Latimore had the chance to round third and score.  Latimore homered to lead off the 7th inning, and at that point, he was responsible for all of the Curve runs.  

With former Pirate farmhand Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound for Harrisburg in the 8th, CF Starling Marte began the inning with a single.  Marte advanced to second base on a ground out by 3B Jeremy Farrell, then he stole third base.  C Tony Sanchez’s RBI single up the middle brought Marte in to score the final run for the Curve.  

Phillip Irwin made the start for the Curve and pitched 6 scoreless innings.  He hit a batter in the top of the 1st, then retired the next 13 Harrisburg batters, until he gave up a lone single in the 5th.  He allowed a single and a walk in the 6th, for the biggest threat he had faced, but left both on base to end the inning.   Bryan Morris relieved Irwin to begin the 7th inning.  He put the side down in order in that inning, but gave up an unearned run in the 8th.  A throwing error by Sanchez, a double, and an RBI ground out brought in the run.  Morris allowed a single in the 9th, but did not allow another run to score.  Irwin won his first game of the season, and Morris earned his third Save. 

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2011 Prospect Watching: Heredia, Pevny, Kingham, Weidman

Moving on to look at some of the pitchers in the Pirates’ minor league organization, going generally from the lower levels to the upper levels.  

Luis Heredia —  R/R,  6′ 6″, 185 lb
Heredia is the 16-year-old Mexican phenom prospect, who was signed last year.  He received the highest bonus ever given by the Pirates to an international prospect, but remember that under the Mexican League rules, his Mexican team got 75% of that money.  That still left enough money for Heredia to recently buy a house in Bradenton and have his mom come to live there with him.  Heredia reportedly threw 6 different pitches in Mexico, but the Pirates are having him concentrate on the fastball, curve, and change-up, with emphasis on control and command.  Heredia has been spending a lot of time observing the players in big league spring training camp, and the Pirates have been impressed with his level of maturity for his age.  At 16, he has a lot of work to do, clearly, but the Pirates are very excited about an amazing amount of potential.  There was some debate as to whether Heredia should start his pro career in either the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer Leagues (with other players his same age), or whether he should get right into the Gulf Coast League.  He has been pitching against older players in Mexico, and the DSL/VSL would probably not offer him much competition, but the fact that the Pirates did not dissuade him from buying a house in Bradenton is telling.

Logan Pevny  —  R/R,  6′ 3″,  190 lb
Pevny was the Pirates’ 49th pick in the 2010 draft.  This New Jersey student was a hot-hitting shortstop in high school, and began pitching only in his senior year, almost as an afterthought.  After signing, Pevny began his pro career with the GCL Pirates.  He made three appearances.  The first one was one inning, and he struck out 2 batters.  In the second, he gave up a run on a hit and 3 walks in 1.2 innings.  In the third, he went 2 innings, and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and a homer.  After that, he went onto the DL.  Pevny spent the off season doing a lot of working out, and also doing some teaching with little kids.  At age 19, he’s back and ready to go this spring, though, probably heading back to get in more work in the GCL.

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